ATARI SUPPORT? WHERE?
There is no doubt in my mind that the Atari home computers are the best available. Some might argue that the BBC Model B is superior but
I would disagree. I had three months experience on the BBC and apart from its highest resolution and 80 columns, both of which are impracticable without a monitor,
I can safely say that the Atari knocks spots off it.
So the Atari is a superb machine, yet it gets little mention in magazines and has minimal support from U. K software manufacturers. Why? Here are my theories and suggestions as to how we can help cure this frustrating situation.
Firstly, the lack of software support. I believe there are two reasons. The XYZ Software Company starts in somebody's bedroom because that somebody having bought his new
computer, discovered it had no software support and the only way to play games was to write them yourself. Since this problem has never arisen for Atari users due to the copious supplies of excellent, if overpriced, software from the U.S.A. and also its excellent quality, those users have not had to produce their own software or have felt incapable of matching the standards reached by our colonial cousins. Secondly, the already established BIG SOFTWARE CO LTD decides, quite rightly, before publishing a new title how to make the most money from it. How to do that? Sell to the largest market. What then are the most popular machines? A quick look through all the computer magazines... well it is clearly NOT the Atari, so no software for the Atari. This
brings me to the next point, lack of mention in magazines.
Why should this be? There are several reasons. Firstly, because the Atari had been available for some time before the boom in micros they were rather
overshadowed by the continual new releases (or should that be release dates!). Secondly because of the lack of U.K. software manufacturers there was a lack of software to review (Stateside manufacturers not needing or bothering to send review copies to U.K. magazines) and so the publishers were less aware of Atari than of the latest U.K. micro which they had on non-stop with copious supplies of software. Thirdly and perhaps most importantly was user apathy. If users are constantly writing to magazines with tips, ideas, programs, requests, problems, features, or even to just
ask 'Why don't you devote more space to the Atari?', then they will respond. They must. They exist to make money, which they do by selling more copies. If they think that their market share will go up by giving more space to Atari then they will.
So what can you do? Write to the magazines, even if only to moan at the lack of Atari coverage. Write to the
software houses, especially those who are currently 'testing the water' such as
Llamasoft, Quicksilva and Romic asking for more. YOUR VOICE DOES COUNT! Also all you budding software authors, go to it! It is easier to produce better on the Atari because the hardware does so much more of the work for you and offers so much more. If you price your masterpiece reasonably, and hopefully get some good reviews, then people will flock to
your door. Think about it. Would you pay £30 for an excellent American program if you could buy an excellent British program for £8.00??
Mr B., Herts
** Is there user apathy among Atari owners? What do you think? This letter was received BEFORE the
Turn of The Year article in issue 7 and it echoes much of the sentiments of the lack of U.K software development.
I would obviously prefer you to send your articles and programs to PAGE 6 but one of the aims of PAGE 6 is to encourage Atari users to write and program and the more that can be published for Atari the better for everybody. One of the reasons that people do not submit articles and programs to magazines is fear of ridicule.
I like to consider PAGE 6 as a stepping off point for future authors or
programmers and if you have your article or program published by PAGE 6 then it will give you the confidence and encouragement to submit articles to the 'glossies'
. You will then even get paid for them! We may 'lose' contributors after their first submission but would hope that a certain 'loyalty' will remain and that they will continue to write for PAGE 6 as well as submitting articles to other magazines. In the long run everyone benefits.
Please keep sending your letters on any subject, either in answer to queries raised by other readers or on matters that have not been covered before. Also send in any hints and tips that you feel might help other readers or amendments to any of the programs printed.